John Edwards' mistress bares secrets of affair

NEW YORK, Sebastian Smith - The mistress of fallen Democratic star and presidential candidate John Edwards broke her silence Monday with a tell-all interview about how the "so hot" politician torpedoed his career and cheated on his terminally ill wife.
Rielle Hunter, 45, posed semi-clothed -- alongside the daughter that Edwards secretly fathered -- for the interview with GQ magazine where she reveals that she slept with Edwards at a New York hotel just hours after they met in February 2006.

John Edwards
John Edwards
"You're so hot," she told him.
When Edwards called that evening, asking if she wanted to come to his hotel room, "I said, 'No, I wouldn't mind at all,'" Hunter told GQ. "It was just this, this magnetic force field like I had never experienced."
Edwards was a former senator and ex-vice presidential candidate at the time and would soon challenge for the 2008 presidential Democratic nomination, ultimately won by Barack Obama. The career trial lawyer was widely seen as one of the American political scene's top prospects.
Edwards' wife Elizabeth, who had breast cancer, found out about the affair when she discovered a cell phone her husband had set aside for making calls to Hunter, the mistress recounted.
The wife dialed Hunter's number and Hunter, believing Edwards was calling, answered, "Hey, baby," giving the game away, she says.
The fact that the charming and ambitious politician could have gone as far as he did on the road to the White House -- while hiding an affair, an illegitimate child and outwardly supporting his sick wife -- stunned the US public.
Hunter was defiant, saying they were meant for each other.
"The love doesn't go away. It's unconditional. It's unconditional on my part, but our connection is profound. There's a lot of passion there," she said.
"Everyone talks about how Johnny has fallen from grace. In reality, he's fallen to grace. He is integrated. He is living a life of truth," Hunter said in her characteristic New Age-style manner.
Despite Edwards' status in the public imagination as liar-in-chief, she said she trusted him: "He does not lie to me. At all."
Rather, she blamed his now former wife for having "emasculated" Edwards.
It took until August 2008 for Edwards to admit publicly to the affair with Hunter who was able to stay close to her lover during much of the campaign by serving as his official videographer.
He had already ended his campaign by then, but until his August mea culpa remained a credible political force, throwing his endorsement to Obama in May.
Only this January did Edwards finally admit to being the father of Hunter's daughter, Frances Quinn, now aged two.
In an especially bizarre twist to the sordid tale, a campaign aide called Andrew Young had originally claimed paternity in an attempt to save Edwards' White House bid.
Rumors of the scandal were rife long before Edwards' much-delayed admission, but were missed or not reported by the huge US press corps providing otherwise intensive coverage of the growing 2008 White House contest.
It was the supermarket gossip tabloid The National Enquirer that scooped far more established media organizations both with the story about the affair and the birth of an out-of-wedlock child.
The Enquirer finally chased down Edwards at a Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills in July 2008 while he was secretly visiting Hunter and their baby. Edwards tried to flee the reporters before barricading himself in a hotel bathroom.
To the consternation of some in the media world, the tabloid now says it deserves a shot at the 2010 Pulitzer prizes for journalism.

Tuesday, March 16th 2010
Sebastian Smith

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